On Wednesday, February 1st, Tennessee basketball faces off against the Florida Gators to kick off their February slate of SEC matchups.
The Volunteers get back on the road and head down south to Gainesville in a rivalry matchup against the Gators. Let’s break down the ins and outs of this big game, important statistics, the way teams are trending, and my game predictions for Tennessee basketball as they head to battle in Wednesday night SEC hoops.
In Saturday’s top 10 matchup against the Texas Longhorns, the Vols found a way to win 82-71 on their home court. The Tennessee basketball offense was led by Olivier Nkamhoua. The 6’9 senior from Finland, went on an absolute tear last night against the Longhorns and dropped a season-high of 27 points. Along with the points, he also snagged 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Nkamhoua went 12-15 from the field and lead the Volunteers to a huge top-10 victory.
this Volunteers team is undoubtedly the best in the nation. They have one of the deepest rosters and can play anyone in any game. It’s starting to feel like no matter whom the Vols are playing, a player is bound to step up and win the game. Sometimes it’s Zeigler, other times Vescovi, but when players like Nkamhoua and not the big-name stars are putting up 27 points, it’s a nightmare for any opposing team.
While the AP top 25 polls have the Volunteers ranked No. 2, the more important rankings are KenPom’s rankings, which of the Vols at No. 1. Tennessee basketball sits at a +29.71 adjusted efficiency margin (AdjEM) while Florida sits at a +14.53 AdjEM. This statistic takes the total offensive efficiency (AdjO) and subtracts it from how many points they would give up (AdjD).
On paper, the Volunteers should beat the Gators by a score of 15.18. However, one statistic is not nearly enough to tell us who’s going to win/cover in this game.
But, When we look closer at the other metrics, it’s clear that Tennessee is well deserving of being an extremely heavy favorite. Tennessee has the No. 1 ranked defense and the No. 30 ranked offense. Meanwhile, Florida has the No. 9 ranked defense and the No. 150 ranked offense. Statistically speaking, the Vols have the advantage in every category.
So the question arises, why are the Vols only -5.5 in this game?
Home-court advantage is one possibility, maybe because it’s a rivalry game, or maybe Vegas just seems to think that the 150th-ranked offense somehow has a chance against the best defense in division 1 basketball.
The 12-9 Florida Gators host the Volunteers and come into this game after losing by 14 on the road to Kansas State. The game before, they beat the South Carolina Gamecocks by almost 20 points at home.
The Gators are a good team, but something to note is their home record this season. Florida hasn’t been very dominant at home this year. 3 of their losses came at home, 3 on a neutral site, and 3 on the road.
The one way that the Gators may be able to upset the Vols at home is by pushing the tempo. They run a much faster-paced transition offense, while the Volunteers don’t do as much.
In my opinion, the only way the Gators win this game is by turning this game into a track meet and taking Tennessee’s elite defense out of the picture, and letting the home crowd go to work.
However, I still don’t see the Gators covering this spread.
Tennessee basketball betting prediction vs Florida
The Vols will likely dominate the Gators on the road and continue the hot streak.
Pick: Tennessee Volunteers -5.5 (-110).
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.